Tuesday, February 2, 2010
I grew up in an area that, well you wouldn't call it the poor side of town, because it wasn't really a part of the town. But it wasn't the country either. There were no leash laws, but people took care of their pets. Some of those pets were goats and pigs. My next door neighbor had a little goat, named Billy, we played with everyday. One day we were having the strangest meat and Billy was no were to be found. I didn't eat that night.
We had chickens at one time. We made them pets also. That did not end well either.
One of our neighbors was an old maid lawyer and slum lord. We called her Miss Beulah. That was her first name. I thought she was a hundred years old but she was probably sixty or seventy. She always wore those bonnets with the stiff slats on the sides and looked just like the old hen in the Fog Horn Leg Horn cartoons. She was always saying our dogs were killing her chickens. So she would try to poison one of our dogs. Then Daddy would say her chickens were eating his garden and we would have chicken and dumplings. You just can't settle a score with a lawyer like that anymore.
I remember tall trees and picket fences in the neighborhood back then. Kind of like in the movie To Kill A Mocking Bird. We had bicycles and tire swings but no one had a trampoline like kids do now.
We had a little school that had been around for maybe a hundred years. It only went to third grade and we didn't have kindergarten. Back then you stayed at home with your mom until you were six. Anything you needed to know before then, she taught you.
Our little school was great. The third grade teacher was the principal, another old maid, or unmarried elderly woman, if I must be politically correct. She taught my sister, all my brothers, me and even one of my nieces. The poor thing taught some of my brothers twice, in the same grade. There was a piano in every classroom and we sang and said the pledge of allegiance and prayed. The library was also the lunch room. I never ate lunch at school, though. I walked home every day where my mother had made lunch for me. Sometimes I could smell it on my way home. Homemade rolls or chocolate fried pies were great on those cold days, and we certainly had cold days. But we still walked. It had to be a blizzard or tornado to get my mom out of the house.
I know it was not a wealthy neighborhood, I don't think it was even middle class, but I like to remember the good parts. The families that weren't crazy, the teachers that were sweet and the dogs that didn't bite. I think it was a good place to grow up.
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